A Kochi touch to the classic Lebanese fish sayadieh

A Kochi touch to the classic Lebanese fish sayadieh

How would one define rice that's more buttery than solid? That would be no rice at all. To those doubters comes the answer in the form of fish sayadieh. This is no fish biryani either, but an entirely different combination of rice and fish; a Lebanese classic!

Introducing the dish to Onmanorama readers is Kochiite Jose Thomas, Executive Chef at the Lebanese embassy in Moscow.

Jose Thomas who hails from Vypeen has the sea bass for his signature recipe. The dorado or mahi-mahi also comes in for the dish at times. Closer home, the dish can be readied with seer fish or the common 'kanambu' (mullet).

Here’s how the sayadieh is cooked.


1.5 kg fish cut into 1.5€ pieces

Head to be chopped into small pieces

For rice

4 cups basmati rice (soaked)

Fish masala

1 tbsp jeera powder

1 tsp coriander powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp black pepper powder

4 cloves garlic (crushed)

Lime extract (from one lime)

Salt as needed

For stock

Head pieces

1 big onion (chopped finely)

2 pieces cinnamon

2 cloves garlic

6 cloves

6 cardamom

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon black pepper

2 tomatoes

Salt as needed


Coat the fish with the masala, set aside for a while and deep fry.

Heat oil in a pan, sauté the onions and add in the spices.

When done add water and chopped pieces of the fish head. Cook for around 20 minutes.

When the pieces are cooked well and the gravy thickens, drain out the stock.

Arrange finely cut big onion rings in a thick bottomed vessel.

Spread out fried fish on top and then layer it with rice.

Keep on layering fish and rice and finally pour the stock over it.

The stock should be sufficient enough to get the rice cooked.

Cook for ten minutes over a moderate flame and then lower the heat.

As the rice gets cooked, add in ghee bit by bit on the top.

Flip over the entire stuff on to another dish before serving. This brings the fried pieces on top and the rice at the bottom.

Garnish with finely chopped fried onions, cashew nuts and almonds.

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.